Wednesday, November 7, 2018

IWSG: Creature of Habit: The Difference Between Hitting the Wall or Writing Yourself Into a Corner

http://www.alexjcavanaugh.com/p/the-insecure-writers-support-group.html
It's the first Wednesday of the month, which means it's time to get insecure! Special thanks to Alex J. Cavanaugh for creating/hosting the Insecure Writer's Support Group, a monthly forum for writers to share insecurities without fear of reprisal.

If you're reading this, chances are we've survived another Halloween. Not just the new movie, either. Now with candy aside, a new month is here and so is NaNoWriMo. Good luck to everyone participating!

I wish I could say I had a super productive writing month. I caught a real world snag that slowed me down. Not that October was a total bust. I started the first chapter of something new and some editing. All the while I got caught in the tug of war of "should I keep writing or go back and polish what I've done"? Even at the start, I've been an edit as you go writer, so drafting some 20K words without looking back is especially rare for me. I usually draft a couple thousand than go through it a few times. It makes writing first drafts a bit slow but it almost always makes revisions easier. In the end, I'd rather review than write myself into a corner. No one likes being in the corner!

This basically means my intended plan to complete a new zombie draft by the end of the year may bleed into the new year by a month or two, and I would rather do that than push a book with holes and shotty development. Then I got to thinking, if by going with this approach, had I not only written myself into a corner, but hit the wall in the process? There is a difference between the two: writing into a corner is like pushing and pushing until you're stuck, whereas hitting the wall is frustration at the process to the point of hating to write. Even yourself. Lately I've questioned why I'm doing this, or if I'm in the right market. Why mentally strain myself when I could be living?

Every time, I come back to "because it's part of who you are", and by extension, "putting words down contributes to your life's meaning".

Deep stuff. And you know, I can live with that. So when I find myself writing into a corner, I have to step back and regroup. This usually gives me the insight I need to finally push through that wall. So November will be a Revision Month to get myself back on track.

Ever written yourself into a corner? Ever slammed into that wall? How did you back out of the corner? How did you break the wall?

I'm David, and these mountains look better with snow ...


23 comments:

  1. Yes they do!
    Why strain when we could be living - I ask myself that often.

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  2. I have never really edited as I go but it's different strokes for different folks.

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  3. Whether in a corner or free writing, at least you're writing and thinking about it. :)

    Teresa

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  4. I've always edited as I go along. For me, hitting a wall is telling me I took a wrong turn somewhere. It's like getting stuck in a rut driving: sometimes you have to go backwards a bit before you can move forward!

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  5. Nobody puts Baby in a corner!

    I edit as I go. Always have.

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  6. That mountain is totally my favorite! I like it in the spring when it's green too. :D

    I dictate new words so I have to go back to edit or it won't make any sense later.

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  7. I edit as I go, but I've learned the value of pushing ahead and getting some wordcount, too, even if it's less polished. I'm striving for a happy medium between the two. Heck, I'm striving for writing time, period! LOL

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  8. Oh yeah, I've written myself into the occasional corner. It can take me a while to work my way back out, but I generally figure it out.

    With the exception of NaNoWriMo, I'm an edit-as-I-go writer, too.

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  9. I used to edit as I go. Now, I try to push ahead. But, when I feel redundant, or something's not right, I go back. If I'm struggling to continue on, I start to edit, in hopes that I'll fall in love with the story again. Good Luck, David.

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  10. Hi David - not really being able to use the writing analogy - if a post doesn't fit - then it gets put on the back burner ... no bleeding here. Life carries on thankfully - and new chapters arrive ... good luck to you - cheers Hilary

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  11. Corner vs. wall - great way to think about it. I think I've run into both :-) Totally makes sense to push your goal out into next year so that you have something you're proud of.

    Cheers - Ellen

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  12. I've not hit corners or walls, but sometimes I have a scene that takes me forever to write because it's so important and I need to get it just right even in the first draft.

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  13. I kind of edit as I go, I think? I find it very hard to write a sentence before it sounds perfect in my head, so I do a LOT of blank page staring.

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  14. Ah, being a writer sometimes sounds like more trouble than it is worth, but as a reader i am so glad you and others with the "bug" go through it!

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  15. I write poetry mainly about life's experiences, I enjoyed your post very much it made excellent reading.

    Yvonne.

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  16. I'm with you... I edit as I go as well, but I do try to keep moving. It's tough when you hit that wall. For me TIME helps. It may be months or even years, but I always seem to get back to my writing...

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  17. I edit as I go, too, David. It's a process that may feel slower, but it also propels me through rough spots. When writing is part of who you are and words contribute to your life's meaning, you have no choice; you are compelled to write. Stepping back for a little bit can be helpful and insightful, as can writing on another piece. Good luck!

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  18. I related to your post--being in that writing corner, making editing choices, making WIP choices. There are days I do a 360 and wind up exactly where I started, scratching my head and asking myself why I do this. Yet, the next day I'm at it again, and with luck, I actually do make some progress.

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  19. I'm definitely an edit as you go writer. I figure the best time to edit is when you're deep in the proper mindset for that particular point of a chapter. That doesn't mean that I won't have to come back and edit it again (and again and...), but I might as well make it as could as I can during the first pass through.

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  20. It's hard when you get to that point that you can't see how to get back to the writing. Sometimes those snags are the best thing that can happen to you in the long run. I hope things are going better now.

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  21. I like to edit as I go too. It sounds like you're being productive and with all the rest of what you have going on that having to set your goals back by a month or two is okay.

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  22. Hitting a wall definitely stinks, but when I had a writing partner, he and I would purposely write ourselves (and each other) into corners. Kind of a challenge for both of us.

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  23. Paint myself into a corner? Hahaha. Of course. How do I get out of it? Backtrack. Reread (or write) each characters GMC (goal, motivation, conflict). Plot (dreaded word) a little. Decide what's the worst thing that could happen to my character then do it. I know, cruel. Don't forget to have fun.

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